Liposuction is an extremely useful method in
improving body contour. It is not a method for correcting
generalised obesity. It is only useful where there are only
localised deposits of fat as in the hip areas, waist, inside of the
knees, front of thighs etc.
After puberty the number of fat cells becomes fixed and where these are reduced, as in liposuction, the ability to store fat is lost. Ideally there must be a reasonable amount of elasticity in the treated areas to avoid sagging.
This means that liposuction is most useful in younger patients. Usually up to the age of 40 there should be no problem but even an older woman with a firm skin tone is also acceptable as a candidate.
Very small incisions in well hidden areas, e.g. the buttock crease, are made, through which fine metal tubes are inserted and are connected to strong vacuum. Therefore liposuction can be considered as an essentially scarless surgery. Nowadays the areas are infiltrated with a solution containing adrenaline which shrinks the blood vessels in order to limit blood loss when fat- suctioning begins. This also substantially reduces the post-operative bruising.
Some patients can be treated with local anaesthesia while others require general anaesthesia when liposuction will involve more than 4 sites.
Immediately after the operation the patient is fitted with pressure garments to limit blood oozing and swelling.
The pressure garments are worn for about 3-4 weeks.
Initially after the operation the patient is swollen where fat was suctioned but after 2 weeks or so the area gradually shrinks and the patient experiences the great pleasure of losing centimetres during the following 3-4 months with her old clothes becoming very loose.
The patient may be treated as a day-case if the procedure is done with local anaesthesia but if general anaesthesia is employed an overnight stay in the clinic is necessary .
The results are permanent and even if there is ever a moderate increase in the overall weight of the patient in the future, the treated areas remain unaffected since this extra amount of fat will be spread evenly over her entire body.
In brief, liposuction has revolutionised body contour surgery and is extremely effective when some basic rules are observed. These require that the patient should be of normal or near normal weight, and there should be a reasonable skin elasticity. The amount of fat that is removed should not exceed 2-3 kg at most.
It is important to stress that exercises, local creams, electric currents, massage etc have no beneficial effect at all on localised fat deposits.